Saturday, September 30, 2006

Family, Music, and Sounds of the Street

Early morning, readying to be at the gym right when it opens, as today I'll be traveling upstate to see family. Good family, whom I miss and enjoy being with, and stress-inducing family, whom I have little interest, and a little trepidation, in seeing again. Mostly because they fight with each other and I'm tired of hearing about it, and will be even less inclined to want to witness it. Ah, but it's their elderly mother's birthday! Which brings everyone, however artificially, together, because they are also the kind of family who doesn't want her graveside to be the first time they all gather, so pretend, "for her sake," that they can get along.

* * *

There is an ominous sign taped to the front of our building door - the city is going to do massive repairs on our street over the next week, starting at 9 pm and ending at 5 am. Work which is described as scraping and grinding. The obvious warning is about parking your car (it will be towed after 8:30) but the unstated is that it will be problematic for sleeping. Based on their vague schedule, they should hit my block about Sunday night. Great, a work night! I'll have to see if sleeping in the living room (off the street, in the back) is any better. I'm such a baby about getting my sleep. Hopefully the warning is more dire than the reality.

* * *

I was so busy the past few weeks that I missed most of the new tv season premieres. Catch-up hasn't proven that I've missed much. I used to be a real TV addict, but I'm less and less so as I get older. I still have my favorite shows that I love, but they are rare. Part of it might be that I've built a pretty substantial collection of TV DVDs, so I can fall back on watching shows I know I love, like "Mary Tyler Moore" and "Bob Newhart" and "Columbo." I guess I have more affinity for shows from the 70's, because they reflect the world I grew up in? My high school marching band played the theme song for "Bob Newhart" so every time I watch an episode, I feel my fingers twitching in memory. (Looking back that seems odd - a TV theme song? But it is a pretty dramatic song, and was recognizable at the time. We were a top marching band school, too, traveling throughout the state for competitions and usually winning.)

Which reminds me, the music store in my neighborhood is closing. I bought some piano music there, although they mostly had books, and I used to work near a really big sheet music store in midtown where I found a lot more that I liked. I guess it's one of those ridiculous things where I didn't patronize the store very often, but liked the fact that they were in my neighborhood, because they were locally-owned and managed, and gave the neighborhood a family feel: music lessons and instruments for kids, etc. But now I'm thinking, oh, before they close I have to run in and see if they have any clarinets for sale, because I rescued my old one from my mother's house and it's in bad need of repair, and was a pretty cheap one thirty (thirty-five? yipes!) years ago, so probably worth replacing. No, I never play it anymore, but I convince myself that I would if it worked and sounded right. I have a piano which I also don't play very often, although I've been more diligent in getting it tuned in the past few years. I'm not very good, but I enjoy playing when I do sit down and try. Again with the 70's - most of my music is from when I took lessons, so lots of Barry Manilow and Billy Joel and Bread and Chicago. But it's comforting. Sometimes I play songs I had to memorize for piano recitals, although I can't play them from memory any more, I do remember the recitals. I dreaded them. I was terrible at playing in front of people - my hands would shake like crazy. I've never liked speaking in front of groups of people, either (even now, in a large meeting, my voice will crack and shake.) I earned a theater minor in college, but never actually acted, because I never thought I could stand on a stage and perform.

* * *

I don't know if I'll make it to a movie this weekend. Today's family thing is just a day trip, but that means tomorrow I'll have a lot of making up to do with errands, etc. We'll see.


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